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Hotlinking: Hot or Not?



What is hotlinking?
Hotlinking is when you directly link to another website's images so that the images will appear on your site. As a result, you don't need to store the image on your own server. But on the flip side, you also use up a portion of the other site's data transfer, or bandwidth.

The reason why using up someone elses bandwidth is problem, is because web hosts charge by bandwidth, and if a site goes over the monthly allotment of data transfer, the host will charge an additional fee or take the site offline. Not surprisingly, this leaves many webmasters feeling shortchanged.

Keep in mind free sites have bandwidth limits too, and since those webmasters do not pay any fees, free website hosts will automatically shut down the site for a couple hours.

"[There is] a simple analogy for bandwidth theft: Imagine a random stranger plugging into your electrical outlets, using your electricity without your consent, and you paying for it."
-- AltLab.com/hotlinking.html

Can the site I'm hotlinking find out I'm hotlinking?
Yes. Webmasters can view their site statistics and discover specifically who is hotlinking their pictures. In some instances, peeved webmasters will replace a hotlinked picture with a silly or downright embarrassing one.

Will StarWarsSelect.com take action against hotlinking?
Yes we will, so be forewarned.

How can I prevent surfers from hotlinking my site?
If your website's hosted on a free server, about all you can do is plug in a code that will prevent all surfers from right clicking. Find the code in Dynamic Drive's Disable Right Mouse Click Script article.

If you pay for a website and have access to the .htaccess file on your server, you can use a special code to prevent hotlinking found in this AltLab.com article.

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